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#56532 - 11/14/11 12:21 PM Long vent. Need help with the words...
AdrienneM Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 317
Loc: Kentucky, USA
Hello! Our fall recital (actually two recitals to accommodate everyone) was this past Saturday. The kids played well, everyone bowed, it was great!

Only... I think I may have another reason to add to the list of why we should give pause before agreeing to teach children of our close neighbors or friends. Since you are all piano teachers, I thought you might commiserate with me. smile

Last Thursday at her lesson, my student excitedly told me that we (my kids, DH and I) were invited to her "family birthday party" on this past Sunday to celebrate her 9th birthday, which was earlier last week. I commented on how she was going to have such a big weekend, with a party and a recital.... and she said, "Oh! .... my other birthday party is on Saturday from 1 to 4...." I guess she and a few friends (my DD not included, which is a first) were going to a salon to get their hair and nails done (at 9?). This would have been the 4th bday celebration of the week for this 9yo. Okay, I'm being judgmental, but really??

So, I asked her to check with her mom to make sure that was correct, and we continued with the lesson and practiced her recital pieces, etc.

Friday night I got a terse email from her mom that she "didn't recall receiving any information" about the recital and that they "would not be attending." It was two sentences, really.

frown

I am still at a total loss. It was in every weekly reminder going back to September, plus two separate emails, plus all the other 29 kids' parents in my studio knew about it. My reminders have different subject lines every week, and include lots of information, which she is apparently not getting. I checked the address, and it is not the same one she uses for work, but when I write to her on it, she replies. Just not to the reminders. It isn't a technical/email issue.

The perfectionist/apologist in me wants to apologize for not hand-delivering a parchment-paper invitation with a wax seal on it.

Good grief. I never replied. I'm too angry. Isn't that sad? I am tempted to drop them, but that might be a little ugly given they live on our street. The kids don't practice and never seem to know when anything is happening, piano parties, etc. this year (last year was better). Maybe being so close and not having to drive their children to lessons makes it easy to take piano for granted? IDK.... this is kind of the straw that broke the camel's back, and I am "kitchen sinking" -- but these are my children's best friends, too, so I need to be diplomatic.

I guess I should just talk to her and tell her the email made me feel awful (unappreciated, patronized, accused), and get it off my chest. What a downer. I need a new backbone, haha!

Thanks for letting me vent. I think that's the only time I ever add a new topic here, whoops! I should post something more cheerful next time! smile Hope you are all a little amused, anyhow! laugh
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor in Lexington, Kentucky
http://perpetualpiano.blogspot.com
http://www.pianolex.com

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#56533 - 11/14/11 12:33 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: AdrienneM]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 757
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
I am a bit fuzzy on the problem - is it that the mom said she didn't know about the Recital, and therefore the daughter wasn't involved? Just needed some clarification before I give an answer. Thanks!

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#56534 - 11/14/11 12:44 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: Joyful]
AdrienneM Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 317
Loc: Kentucky, USA
Yes, she said she didn't know about it, and therefore neither child (they have two) was participating. The kids were excited about it, and since I am always questioning myself about everything... I feel defensive.

Just wanting to talk to someone about this objectively. It really is just a vent. It doesn't bother me if a student has a legitimate reason to miss an event. It happens all the time. It's that my neighbor turned it around and made it sound like my fault. I mean "I don't recall receiving any information about a recital tomorrow. ____ and ____ will not be able to attend." Not a good email to end the day on. I just felt bad. Everyone else was there, no one got preferential treatment or alternate recital information... it's been out there for months. smirk

Maybe she was having a bad day.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor in Lexington, Kentucky
http://perpetualpiano.blogspot.com
http://www.pianolex.com

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#56536 - 11/14/11 01:03 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: AdrienneM]
Sandy Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 88
I can understand your frustration. She is just trying to put the blame on you so she feels better. I would just email her and explain that the recital date was in every weekly email since September and that she should make sure she reads them thoroughly.

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#56539 - 11/14/11 01:37 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: Sandy]
AdrienneM Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 317
Loc: Kentucky, USA
Thanks, Sandy. I know you are right. Part of me is just floored that anyone would send an email that terse to someone they have to see on a regular basis. It just felt rude, and so I am hurt, and should probably just be as matter-of-fact as possible, and forget about it.

It feels like part of the detachment process families go through before dropping lessons, too. Hmm.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor in Lexington, Kentucky
http://perpetualpiano.blogspot.com
http://www.pianolex.com

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#56541 - 11/14/11 02:38 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: AdrienneM]
Swoop1 Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 112
Loc: Tucson, Arizona, USA
I agree with Sandy. Just reply back that you did include the recital date in all of your weekly emails since September. Make sure that you also say that you are sorry that the kids won't be able to attend and participate after all of their hard work. I don't blame you for feeling defensive - especially since you know that you didn't do anything wrong and it's not your mistake.

I just went through something similar with another parent. I realized after talking to several other teachers that I was not the one with the issue and that the parent had the issue. Sometimes you just need to vent to people that have the same experiences as you do.

You could be onto something about them trying to distance themselves from you so that when they do drop, they don't feel as guilty about dropping. From what you've briefly described, it sounds as if they're on their way to checking out.
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Level Up! Whatever you do, do the extraordinary!
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#56543 - 11/14/11 02:50 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: Swoop1]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 757
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
Sorry to hear all this Adrienne!! That is too bad. Sometimes when a parent asks about a date, etc. I reply with the information, making sure to include the ORIGINAL email I sent with ALL the information in it. Honestly, how do some of these parents get through the other activities their kids are involved in, if they can't keep these things straight?
Sorry for how it made you feel - I probably would have felt the same way and also been at a loss as to how to handle it. The others have given some great advice here. I would simply re-send the initial email (or cut/paste a few of them into one email) and say that you are sorry the children weren't/aren't able to be involved. I don't know if it calls for any further explanation, unless more was said that you feel needs a response. Sometimes it's better just to let these things go (I need to take my own advice more often....) and see if it all smooths over.

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#56545 - 11/14/11 02:47 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: Joyful]
makeminemozart Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 24
I had something very similar with the Mom AND Dad both saying they didn't know anything about a program their child was in.

Here's what I did:

If you have your newsletters that you've been sending home, copy and re-send them just to show that you gave many notices about the recital. Yes, it is probably too late for them to be in it, BUT just for clarification, I would want the parents to know that the "disconnect" was with them. When I did this, it quieted their whining immensely about not knowing anything about the program.

Also, I'll always remember some advice I received in a workshop in Texas. NEVER TEACH CHILDRE of FRIENDS or that ATTEND YOUR CHURCH! I know there are exceptions to every rule, but think about it.... many uncomfortable situations come from these students. Just my opinion.

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#56547 - 11/14/11 03:41 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: makeminemozart]
xstitch4me Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Idaho
Sigh....... the worst experiences I've had teaching piano have been from "friends" and "church families". Sad but true. I think I would just let it go, but first I'd reply that I'm so sorry the students will miss the recital after all of the hard work they've put in. If she really has no idea about the recital then she obviously isn't too involved with the kids piano or she would know about the pieces they've been preparing. If you are worried about your "friendship" and being in the neighborhood, then just send your reply and let it go.

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#56548 - 11/14/11 03:59 PM Re: Long vent. Need help with the words... [Re: makeminemozart]
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
When parents sign their toddlers up for a new session I immediately email them a confirmation, with additional info about what to expect on the first day of class, how to prepare ahead of time, etc...

It never fails. I'll get a call from a slightly irate parent saying that they'd paid the fee, the check was cashed, and yet they haven't received confirmation that they are even enrolled. I will then pull up the email that I'd sent out and forward it to them so that they can see that they were notified.

If you sent out even more emails to this one parent, reminding them of the upcoming recital, I would find each email and forward each one separately.

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